Mama Bird has to feed her three hungry babies, hoping to get more seeds than that competitive squirrel who is looking over her nest! In this cooperative game, all players work together to gather more seeds for the birds. This clever game board has spaces around the perimeter to place the bird, squirrel and various numbered seed cards face down, encircling a grid of 9 birdhouses. Take turns turning over a card to set up strategic play. If a seed card reveals 1-3 seeds, place that number of seeds on any birdhouse to be retrieved by the bird or squirrel. When you turn over a bird or squirrel, they can collect any seeds on the bird feeders that are in their row in the grid, up, down, sideways or diagonal. Conversation, strategy, problem solving and negotiating take place as players share ideas as to where to place the seeds and what card to turn over. Kids start to anticipate where to put the seeds, depending on what perimeter pieces are still concealed. My players kept pausing and counting the seeds accumulated by the squirrel and mommy bird, giving practice counting and comparing. Lots of language learning abounds in this game as players compare moves and outcomes, and add the talk to the math concepts of direction, counting, more, less and most. While consulting with school systems I see a current trend to require students to explain the “Why?” in math to better understand concepts and explain themselves. Language learning is essential so why not make it fun?
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